MPCA releases draft VW plan

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Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

MPCA releases draft plan to invest Volkswagen settlement funds

Today Minnesota released its draft plan for investing the funds the state is set to receive as part of the national Volkswagen settlement.  The MPCA is seeking public input on the draft plan, available at

In 2016, VW was caught violating air pollution standards for nitrogen oxides (NOX) in its diesel cars and SUVs.  As part of the national court settlement, states and tribes are eligible for funds to reduce diesel pollution in their jurisdictions.  Minnesota's share of the settlement is $47 million over 10 years.

States are required to submit a plan to the national trustee before they are eligible to invest the state’s allocation. The plan must describe the state’s overall goals for the funds, the types of projects the state plans to fund, expected emissions reductions from those projects, and how the projects will benefit communities disproportionately impacted by air pollution.

The settlement includes a specific list of activities states can fund with the settlement money.  Within those parameters, states can develop programs and fund projects that make the most sense for them.  The MPCA is committed to developing a plan that benefits all Minnesotans and reflects the needs and desires of people across the state. 

The agency has solicited input statewide for more than a year. We held nine public meetings and four stakeholder meetings, kept interested people up to date with informational email bulletins, received nearly 300 written comments and over 800 responses to online surveys, sought input from the MPCA’s Environmental Justice Advisory Group, and posted information and data on our website (see summaries of what we heard here).  To develop this draft plan, the MPCA considered this input along with data, technical analyses, and the experience of staff.

The draft plan

Minnesota’s draft plan for the settlement funds is structured in three phases, so the MPCA can seek additional input and make changes as needed along the way.  This draft plan addresses only the first phase of funding (2018-2019).  Funds will be invested in communities across the state. In the first phase, we plan to invest 25% of the overall funds ($11.75 million) through five grant programs as follows:

  • School bus replacements: 20%
  • Heavy-duty on-road vehicles: 35%
  • Heavy-duty off-road vehicles: 15%
  • Heavy-duty electric vehicles: 15%
  • Electric vehicle charging stations: 15%.

    Providing input

    The MPCA received extensive public input throughout 2017 to help develop this plan.  Now we are seeking input on the draft to ensure Minnesotans feel it reflects their priorities.  The draft plan is open for comment through March 19, 2018.  If you have questions or wish to comment on the plan, email us at 

    The MPCA will hold a series of public meetings around the state to in March share the draft plan and seek feedback from Minnesotans.  Check our website for details and updates on the meetings. 

    Next steps

    After the comment period closes, the MPCA will review the comments we receive on the draft plan and make any necessary changes to better reflect the input we receive.  We will then submit the final plan to the national trustee for approval.  We hope to release our first requests for proposals in the summer of 2018.